1991 Broadway
Bel Canto

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Profile submitted by apops@mas

APOPS@MAS, working with the New York City Department of City Planning, is in the process of updating website information related to the Required Amenities, Required Hours of Access, Required Size, the Site Plan, and/or other legal requirements governing this privately owned public space.

It would be an understandable mistake to think that this covered plaza, on the west side of Broadway between West 67th and 68th Streets, is all restaurant and no public space. Three large signs on the exterior trumpet the name “Ollie’s,” another sign identifies Ollie’s as a “Noodle Shop & Grille,” and the public space identification sign on glass entry doors in comparison fades into obscurity. Inside the glass panels and doors lining the public sidewalk is more confirmation of a restaurant. People are buying and eating takeout from the large food counter at back, seated around small tables in numerous molded white chairs near a large ice cream cone-shaped structure. A corridor at the southern edge of the space leads, in fact, to a restaurant to the west. Given the powerful image of private food services here, it bears emphasizing that this is public space, and no one is obligated to purchase or do anything. Understood as such, the food service becomes a pleasant amenity that may add to the enjoyment of neighborhood users and passersby. Beyond the northern end of the space, behind a wall covered with plants, is the entry corridor for residents of the Bel Canto, the host building.

Of the four covered plazas encouraged by the Special Lincoln Square District zoning, this is the only one devoted to food. The covered plaza at 2 Lincoln Square houses a museum, the One Harkness Plaza/Harmony Atrium space supplies a climbing wall, and the tiny outdoor covered plaza at 30 Lincoln Plaza leads to a superb landscaped plaza.


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7 User Submissions

  1. submitted by: Yvonne

    Question. What time does this plaza close? On the sign it says 12PM however I am in the plaza now after 12PM – it’s 7pm and it’s still open. Did they mean to say 12am or 12 midnight? If so the sign needs to be changed. Thank you. 🙂

  2. submitted by: Kay

    I wish the tables and chairs could be moved for greater functionality, by groups of people wanting to utilize a portion of the space, without being chastized by staff. The space is beautiful, but I believe if it was more welcoming, in terms of usage and staff &public interaction, people would be able to use this space in various, positive and intresting ways. Thanks you for making the space available to the public. Despite all, it is apreciated.

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  4. submitted by: Nathaniel Jacobson

    I am Nathaniel Jacobson, and I am the volunteer coordinator for A Free Bird. We are an all volunteer group that does arts with pediatric cancer patients in hospitals and homes throughout the city. A Free Bird is looking for a donation of space in order to raise money for our organization. Attached you will find a picture of a former South-Street Seaport (weatherproof:)) Ticket Booth. We would like to start a cafe.

    Our structure was donated to us in a contest and is weather proof and was custom made to be outside. We are looking specifically to introduce healthy organic options to children and their families. We will fundraise money on daily basis so we will maintain our work helping children with cancer around the country. The structure will maintain itself with solar panels if necessary.

    We would feature a couple of simple vegan products as well as free-trade coffee. for We already have the donated equipment. We would maintain the booth ourselves. We have developed relationships with farms such as Battery Urban Farms which donates vegetables for our products. It will be run by two volunteers at any given time and a manager with a key on call. It will be entirely self sustaining in terms of resources, insurance and any maintenance, etc. Occasionally young artists who we work with will paint it as an artistic experience (also good PR!).

    A Free Bird Organization is a 501 (c) 3 non profit dedicated to inspiring and nourishing children with cancer through the therapeutic form of the arts. As stated A Free Bird is currently in the process of opening a Food Cart! A Free Bird Café is committed to funding art supplies and musical instruments for children affected by cancer through selling high quality beverages and meals at an affordable price, while also encouraging diversity within the community. Every month, A Free Bird Cafe will also feature one of our program’s children with their progress and work.

    The cafe is a donated 10x10x8 foot structure, and will stand out from other coffee shops in its neighborhood. We would be the first self-sustaining non-profit organization to have our own café with dual missions. Our cafe is an alternative to neighborhood commercial coffee shops that may not necessarily offer all non-GMO vegan food, organic coffee and vegan juices. Our sponsors such as Equal Exchange Coffee, Battery Urban Farm, and more allow us to achieve these missions while maintaining independent agency for the cause of arts and pediatric cancer.

    We are hoping for a 12 month donated lease of space to utilize for our cafe; partnering between organizations which come from different spectrums who each believe in quality and progress. In gratitude for your help, if you wish, we will post your logo, clickable to your website, under our Sponsors Section, as well as acknowledge the company in our monthly newsletter, annual magazine and social media outlets.

    As mentioned we have both a literal structure and the planning and personnel support needed to get the project off of the ground. At this point we need cooperation with parts of the community which might be in a position to accommodate such a request.

    Several key members of our organization have recently been honored by Mayor Bill DeBlasio for the second year in a row for NYC Volunteer Service and we are officially recognized by the Department of Education and Department of Cultural Affairs!

    We are lovingly supported by the New York Mets, New York Giants, New York Jets, New York Rangers, Kipling, Chelsea Piers, Children’s Museum of the Arts, Talbot’s, Bloomingdale’s, and many more great organizations. We have also created partnerships with Madison Square Garden, Sony, and Takasago for various projects that benefit the children of A Free Bird Organization.

    You can find more information about our organization at afreebird.org

    Thanks for your attention!

  5. submitted by: Kira

    The POPS at 1991 Broadway at 70th street is a space that in recent years as fallen to the wayside, running parallel to its faltering neighborhood. Many shops and restaurants in this neighborhood have been forced to close in recent years, leaving vacant, ugly space. These spaces are visible from the street with their clear, wide windows framing their dirty interiors, the giant FOR RENT signs trying to block out the public accessibility to know more about the space. The POPS feels similar. It is easily accessible to the public- it is not hidden or disguised as a business. Although, several years ago, it did have a Chinese take-out station, which and discouraged homeless loiterers, and made it seem as though you had to buy their food to sit there. The POPS feels very isolated with its floor to ceiling windows and awkward shape. It doesn’t have a purpose without these small businesses producing foot traffic. The space produces echoes, making it an unpleasant place for a pedestrian to rest. I do not see people passing through who are not homeless, although the tables and chairs provided do look ample enough to nap in, so I think the city is doing that community a favor to rest in a safe space without hassle. It has lots of natural light, although the 6 trees inside are withering away. It’s not clear to me who takes care of the building, locking it up at night, making sure it is clean at all times. I do know it is own by luxury condominium Bel Canto, but I didn’t see anyone associated with the building while I was there. The space is easy to find and was accessible for a wheel chair or a stroller. The floor to ceiling windows provide transparency, natural light, and safety to this small space. There is no feeling of being left out despite the glass. It is an absolute space-open, immersive, and solid. As a relational space, it is almost a private oasis. One can sit peacefully, yet can also be gawked at from the sidewalk and on display. It is a relative space because people can pass in and out at their leisure, and it seems to follow a similar structure changing as the neighborhood does. The space could be important for the neighborhoods residents in the future. Potentially, this could be a great POPS that anyone could use.

  6. submitted by: Susan Evans

    A new restaurant called the Sugar Factory (apparently a Vegas-based chain) has moved into the space Ollie’s once occupied. It has remodeled the public plaza so that it looks like part of the restaurant and even has waiters standing in the plaza among the tables, handing out menus and taking orders. It has also installed TVs in the plaza that play videos of celebrities (the Kardashians, Britney Spears) endorsing the Sugar Factory. The photos included in this message were taken over the weekend of 4/14–as you see, it is very difficult to tell that the plaza is open to the public. According to the DOB website, there are two active complaints: “PRIVATELY OWNED PUBLIC SPACE/NON-COMPLIANCE” and “CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY -NONE/ILLEGAL/CONTRARY TO CO”. There is also a Stop Work Order dated 3/7/17 issued because “WORK @ COVERED PLAZA WITHOUT DCP APPROVAL IS APPROX 90% COMPLETE”. It is hard to understand how the plaza can be open given the stop work order and current treatment of the POPS.

    The photo on the right also shows that there is a waiter present in the space.